Nepal, Morocco & Turkey

Travel News

I have just returned from 6 weeks of travelling throughout Nepal, Morocco and Istanbul in search of treasures and am really excited with the collection gathered. Each of the three countries was amazing in that they were completely different in their offerings.

From Katmandu I acquired beautiful turquoise and coral necklaces, sacred conch shell beads and my great love, rare and antique Nepalese and Naga beads.

Morocco is absolutely full of evocative images, colour and vibrancy, also reflected in their jewelry. We scoured for treasures in the exotic old souks in Marrakech, fossicked through old tea chests and boxes from traders for Tuareg and Berber elements deep in the south desert regions and drank countless cups of mint tea high in the amazing Atlas Mountains whilst watching age-old bead making techniques of amber and enamelled beads.

Istanbul is an amazing city being the busiest trading port along the Old Silk Road. The allure of the Grand Bazaar is simply amazing, I couldn’t resist purchasing several old Turkoman silk embroidered coats and superb colourful ikat coats, Afghan stone beads and Turkish silver beads. We did manage to find some exquisite old Turkoman pieces but these are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

For those of you who are bead and jewel investors or collectors, I have included a new COLLECTORS GALLERY with some amazing beads, old silver pendants, antique amber and coral jewelry.

Keep checking back in the Collections as many new and exciting pieces will be added.


Travelling in Nepal, Morocco and Turkey in search of exotic treasures, across the board the price of silver had risen dramatically over the last six months. A point of contention was the frustration that traders had also increased the prices of their old existing silver stock. To my valued existing clientelle, and new customers, the GEMILA collection of jewels has not been adjusted to new silver prices so there are a lot of treasures available that are in todays market, real value for money. Enjoy!

African Trade Bead Necklace

Inspiration in Design – ‘Dahlia’

Sometimes, when in a quiet reflective place, inspiration in design can appear in the simplest things …. a flower, the colours of the ocean or gorgeous patterns and colour palettes on a piece of fabric.

A beautiful deep red dahlia flower in full bloom with the most unusual black and white spots in its centre from my mothers garden was the inspiration behind this African trade bead necklace named ‘Dahlia’

Rummaging through my bead collection, I began grouping colours of that wonderful image and the necklace effortlessly evolved. I love it when it is borne from such simple beginnings. Sometimes you can labour to get a piece just right, but this just seemed to create itself!

The deep red beads used are glass trade beads from the Fulani tribe in West Africa and are at least 50 years old, possibly more. Beads were a prized commodity amongst the Fulani for centuries and worn for beauty and prestige. Often adorned for wedding ceremonies, beads were a sign of riches. Social status was determined by the quality and quantity of style of jewellery worn which created a high demand for trade beads throughout the region.

The black and white beads are old glass trade beads called ‘skunk’ beads or are also known as crows eye or eye beads, produced in Venice and traded throughout Africa for ivory, gold and other desired goods, services, even slaves!

The two end beads are rare old hand wound Venetian ‘feather’ beads. These beads require the use of an open flame technique where molten glass was spun around a wire or rod to form each individual bead. Brass beads and spacers from Ethiopia compliment the necklace giving it a lush feel and glow.

African beadwork is meant to be noticed. As Angela Fisher has written in Africa Adorned, beads say ‘look at me’. I’m sure this piece will invite comments and not go unnoticed!!! It will be posted on the GEMILA website shortly.

Reference of interesting related books:

  • The History of Beads – Lois Sherr Dubin
  • Africa Adorned – Angela Fisher